Situated in Northern France (and being the countries Capital city), more precisely by the River Seine, it is also one of the greatest achievements of human engineering, and it holds an estimated population of 2,170,000 people within its administrative limits, and of 13 million in its metropolitan area.
It is most likely that you’ve -at least- heard about Paris. Unless, of course, you had been living under a rock since… well, pretty much since you were born (in which case, your ignorance would be more than justified). And if there is ONE truth about Paris is this: when you hear about Paris, you want your Paris.
Quick Traveler’s 7 Tips Guide to Paris
That is why we’re going to –briefly, yet accurately- illustrate you with some hot-spot tips to check out on your traveler’s list before hitting the way.
1- TOURISM CAPITAL: Always keep in mind that this is one of Earth’s most visited destinations, which means you’re not alone when you go walking through Champs Elyseés, with your camera in one hand and your lover’s waist in the other. That is to say: be mindful of accommodation. There’s a wide variety of Hotel and Hostel services (you should find an article on this topic at this very website) suited for either a business trip or a pleasure-only voyage, but it’s always advisable to get informed and reserving a room at the inn of your choice with a few days anticipation. Location can be of the essence, especially for a business trip, while pleasure trips allow for a more “distended”, improvisational approach.
2- ART OF DRIVING: Everyday traffic is somewhat messy in this City of Lights, and should you rent a car or any kind of vehicle, you better be aware of that. While there are major monetary penalties for behind-the-wheel-felons, truth is this city has such a non-stop rhythm of agitation, it’s difficult not to get a little “carried away” by it every once in awhile, if you’re a driver. Car-rental services range from about € 20 / day.
Paris has a state-of-the-art Metro system, which can swiftly, yet timely, take you from any to any other point of the conurbation. You can buy a one-day Metro-pass, which allows you to take as many Metro outings as you want. Youngsters under the age of 26 will, in addition, find Metro tickets discounts on weekends.
There’s also the Bus system, which makes for a colorful trademark of this beautiful city, although it can sometimes get a little “jammed”, precisely because of so much traffic going on, particularly at rush hours.
3- TWO TO TANGO: Unless you’re there strictly for business, you’re most probably accompanied, either by a friend, a relative, or your mate. Being accompanied in Paris is good for more reasons than the obvious one of sharing this experience with someone you love: if you’re a lady and find yourself in need of using a bathroom while you’re out in a Restaurant or a Café, you can always count on your partner to care for your purse or backpack.
While Paris is pretty tight in matters of personal civilian security, petty burglar robberies can sometimes happen, although this is rather rare during daytime or in well-lighted areas at night, and, when it happens, they’re mostly of a non-violent nature, like pick-pocketing and the occasional purse-theft.
Also, should you take on a train trip (Eurail is recommended for visiting little towns, countryside), you can fall asleep while your accompanist keeps track on train spotting.
- Getting The Best Deal On a Flight to Paris
- A Guide to the Different Means of Transportation in Paris
- Kid-Friendly And Family Vacations In Paris
4- TIP TRIP: It has been stipulated by Law that all Hotels / Restaurants / Bars and services rates must be tax-included –usually around 10 to 15% overcharge- yet, it is also typical to give an extra 5% tip.
Traveler’s personal guidance services are usually tipped with a couple of Euros, depending on the coverage; taxi drivers get a minimum extra tip income of € 0,50, and a top of € 1,00, no matter the nature of the trip. V.A.T. value: the “Value Added Tax”, in France is of 19.6% everywhere except for foods, medicines, and books, in which’s case it is of 5.5%.
Certain products such as watches, cameras, and videocassette devices are taxed with 33% overvalued. V.A.T. taxed products are usually identified with a TTC label (standing for “Tout Taxes Comprises”).
5- CLEARWATER: It is perfectly safe to drink water from the sink or whatever public water expenders in Paris. As you may or may not know, water supply is a problem of nonsensical magnitude in certain parts of the world, Mexico being a gruesome example of it. Parisians don’t have that problem (not as of the moment, anyway) and you can save a few bucks by carrying your own bottle and refilling it at a Bar, for example.
A word of advice, though: do not drink water from public fountains, since they’re NOT assured to be potable!
6- VIS-A-VISA: French Law has it that everyone in France –tourists included- must carry some sort of identification with themselves, all the time. While a simple ID should be enough for any EU resident, outsiders MUST have their passports (or passports’ copy) on them, and it must be preserved in perfect conditions.
If your intention is that of traveling through Europe, you can do it so by procuring yourself a Schengen visa, so you get full access to any of the Schengen-zone countries, which are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and of course France.
Passerby visas cost about u$d 6; while 30 day visas are about u$d 15, and 90 days-valid multiple visas charge for about u$d 22.
You must also present: six-month-valid passport, double-way ticket, founds /income proof, Hotel reservation proof (possibly), 2 passport-size photographs. Provided that everything’s in its right place, you will most likely get your visa.
7- HAVE A GOOD TIME! A trip to Paris is just unforgettable if you go there with the right attitude and an appetite for culture. From the charming colors of the Champs Elyseés to the magnificence of the Notre Dame cathedral; from the luminous heights of Eiffel Tower to the historical backgrounds of the Arc de Triomphe; Paris is THE incandescent, charming capital of Europe in more ways than you could imagine.
Be sure to take a walk down Montmartre; to eat some specialty in a lost Café by the Latin Quarter; or visiting the halls of the Louvre Museum.
Paris is waiting…See you there!